When we traveled to San Francisco for the bariatric surgeonsí convention, we sampled lots of fresh local seafood served simmered in traditional tomato based sauces such as this one.

You can use mussels and shrimp as I have chosen for this version, or create your own favorite, using scallops, clams, crab, or even a whole fish filet or cubes of a firm fish such as swordfish or mahi. I serve this delectable seafood and sauce in a deep bowl with a sprinkle of flat leaf parsley.


  • 1 small bulb fennel, core removed & very thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 3 or 4 stalks fresh basil with leaves (we are extracting the flavor of the whole basil into our sauce but if you do not have fresh basil use 2 teaspoons dried basil)
  • 1 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata or other black olives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mussels
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and cleaned


  • Cook fennel and garlic in oil in a deep covered heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Stir in crushed red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute.
  • Add tomatoes with juice, basil, wine, and olives.
  • Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Just before serving, increase heat under sauce to medium high, add shrimp and mussels, cover and cook until mussels are open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.)
  • Serve immediately.
June 28, 2023
Bariatric Recipes Advice, Rants & Support Podcast: Real Talk